Taylor: One of my favorite places to eat at here in Chicago is called Cozy Noodles and Rice. It’s a little Thai place that’s cheap and has robots hanging on the wall. It also has a BYOB policy so it’s not uncommon for my friends and I to bring some beer or wine to enjoy with our meal. Thai food is really flavorful and spicy, however, so often I find that the taste of the alcohol I’m drinking clashes with the taste of the Thai. Separate, they are both delicious. But when combined they just don’t mix well. The lesson I’ve learned from this is the need to cleanse the palate after a heavy meal or thick drink. TMNT 51 is the first issue after the momentous issue 50, and in many ways it acts as a swig of water between two distinct tastes. It prepares us for a brand new turtle adventure while still letting us savor the events which proceeded it.
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28, originally released November 27th, 2013.
Don’t it always seem to go/that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
-Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi
Drew: It’s easy to take things for granted. In our never-ending quest for the better, we often overlook the value of what we already have — especially if we’ve always had it. “Youth is wasted on the young,” as they say, which I’ve always taken to mean that you can only truly appreciate a carefree existence once you’ve lived a careful existence. Because kids have never lived in a world where their parents weren’t always there for them, they can’t really understand what it is their parents do for them in the first place. I’ve long felt the same way about Leonardo. He’s the leader because he’s always been the leader — I’ve never really understood what it is he brings to that role on the team (you know, besides having any of the more distinctive quirks of his brothers). City Fall has long featured some exploration of what life without Leo looks like, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28 shows just how well the turtles work without him. Continue reading
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 27, originally released October 30th, 2013.
Taylor: In high school I ran track, an activity which was probably the product of your typical adolescent masochistic need to fit in and be cool. Running isn’t a fun sport and for the most part it’s pretty simple. Run faster than the other guy and you win. Despite these simple parameters surrounding track, there is at least a little bit of strategy that can help you win a race, namely: pacing yourself. Begin the mile run with a sprint and you’re bound to lose. Save all your gas for the last lap and you’re equally doomed. Ideally, you run at a pace that feels good and which happens to be faster than those around you. Save some extra juice for the final push near the end of the race and you could find yourself standing in the winners’ circle. Point is, pacing yourself is important, whether we’re talking running, boozing, or comics. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 27, puts on a clinic on how to pace a story wonderfully and the result is an issue that is enthralling from start to finish.
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 23, originally released June 26th, 2013.
Patrick: One of the most beautiful things about IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is the relationship it has with the franchise’s past. And that’s an insane past. TMNT have been rebooted and re-imagined so many times in their 30-year history, there’s really no such thing as a definitive take on the characters. You’ll never be able to get two TMNT fans to agree on what constitutes canon for them – there are just too many movies, video games, comics, television shows and elaborately staged action-figure set-pieces played out on my bedroom floor. More than Superman, more than Wolverine, who these characters are at their core is left to the individual reader. The second issue of CityFall takes that concept of subjective history and makes it arrestingly explicit as Leonardo is forced to recontextualize the adventures we’ve been reading for the last two years. Continue reading
Taylor: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a lot of descriptors in their name. While it’s always easy to remember that they are turtles and ninjas, it’s a little harder to remember that they are teenagers. I’m not sure what to attribute this forgetfulness to. Maybe it’s because most superheroes are in their 20s or 30s. Or maybe it’s because it’s hard to guess the age of a half man/half turtle based solely on appearance. I don’t know. Whatever the reason is, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the turtles have to deal with some heavy shit on a regular basis. While your average teen worries about school and sex, the turtles have to worry about ninja battles and saving the earth from an evil, alien brain. It’s not exactly a fair shake and given the circumstances it seems like only a matter of time before those hormones (turtle or otherwise) and inexperience kick in and hurt our half-shelled heroes. Issue 22 of TMNT begins the City Fall event and with it we see our turtles being challenged in new ways and asked to achieve things beyond their years. But are they up to the task?
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 21, originally released April 24th, 2013.
Taylor: Cities are dirty places. Go to any major city and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will see litter piled in gutters, blowing across streets, and randomly dispersed in unsuspecting front yards. It’s not that people in big cities like litter (does anyone?) or care about the environment any less than people in smaller urban areas. Rather, it’s simply a matter of when you throw a huge number of people together they create a huge amount of waste. Keeping all of this waste together can be a hard thing to do, thus in cities like Chicago, my base of operations, litter and dirtiness are just something you get used to. This grime that accumulates in big cities gives them an unmistakable urban feel which most people can easily recognize, whether they have ever lived in such an environment or not. Kevin Eastman recognizes this aspect of cities and it is reflected in issue 21 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which he both wrote and drew. The result is an issue that realigns the series with a new plot while at the same establishing a dark and ominous tone for the future.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 4, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Drew: In my experience, there are two types of characters in action movies: those that act like it’s no big deal that that car just blew up, and those that understand that HOLY SHIT THAT CAR JUST BLEW UP! The former is obviously more badass, and I think captures a kind of aspirational relatability in the audience, even if the latter is ultimately more relatable — who wouldn’t freak out if they were caught in the middle of an action movie? Curiously, the relatability may make the characters in the latter category less realistic, as their presence often draws our attention to the artifice of the genre. It can be tricky to balance these characters (or these traits within characters), but Secret History of the Foot Clan continues to do so with aplomb. Continue reading
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 3, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Taylor: It’s weird to consider the effect that our legacies have on us. Who are family is and was, where we have lived and what we have done all impact us greatly when it comes to crafting our current identity. For some, a legacy is a source of strength and pride, while for others it may be the cause of embarrassment and pain. But speaking in the context of just a single lifetime, a person’s legacy can greatly influence their future actions. For a fun example, let’s take George Lucas. The man who created a classic and beloved franchise was so enamored with his legacy that he refused to listen to others when it came time to create his ill-fated prequels. Perhaps he was enamored with his own legacy as a genius myth-maker or perhaps he simply let pride get in the way. Nonetheless, his past influenced his actions, the resulting in a set of films that many felt betrayed his previous endeavors. It’s interesting to consider the role of legacies at play in the Secret History of the Foot Clan both — narratively and creatively — because they cannot be ignored in either instance. In this case, is the legacy a source of strength or a source of weakness?
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 2, originally released January 23rd, 2013.
Drew: The first issue of this series wowed me with the way its sophisticated exploration of narrative perspective. To me, the notion of a single story pieced together from tidbits contributed by many storytellers represented comics generally, and this iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles specifically. In issue 2, writers Mateus Santolouco and Erik Burnham pull the scope back even further, commenting on previous iterations of the Turtles. As someone who grew up in the ’90s, I couldn’t be more pleased. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 1, originally released January 9th, 2013.
Patrick: The Secret History in question is delivered via a few discrete sources: Dr. Miller (a lecturer at April and Casey’s school), Splinter and Shredder. For obvious reasons, not everyone has all of these pieces of the Foot Clan story, but everyone does seem to want all these pieces. I always like it when our heroes are in search of a truth that I am also interested in — it makes me feel like we’re all on the same side. It’s like a detective story, except instead of trying to solve a murder, we’re working to understand history. Mateus Santolouco portions out the clues and delivers a story rich in culture and mythology, simultaneously important to all corners of the TMNT Universe.